Where Righteousness Dwells

Just to give a quick background to what follows next, let me state this:

God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – created the world we live in. He created all human kind and all creatures on this earth in which he breathed the breath of life. So, this means that the Son, Jesus Christ, is God, he was with God in the beginning, and he created us (See: Genesis 1-2; John 1).

When God created mankind (Adam and Eve) they were in perfect fellowship with God. They had not yet sinned against God. But, then the serpent (Satan) deceived Eve and she sinned and Adam sinned, too, and so God banished them from the Garden of Eden (See: Genesis 3). And, from that point forward, all humankind has been born into sin (See: Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49).

But, God had a plan for how he was going to deliver us all from our bondage to sin, which he then put in place 2,000 years ago. He sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth to take on human form, to suffer as we suffer, and to die on a cross for our sins. In fact, in his death he became sin for us so that when he died he put sin to death, and when he rose from the dead, he conquered sin and death on our behalf (See: Is. 53; Phil. 2; 2 Co. 5:21).

But, God’s plan meant that, in order for us to be delivered from our bondage to sin, and to be returned to fellowship with God, that we had to believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith. And, that faith in Jesus must be continuous to the end of time, and it must entail us leaving our lives of sin behind us and daily putting sin to death. And, it means that we now walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to the ways of our sinful flesh (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25).

But, that is not where it all ends. For, Jesus promised that, when he left this earth, that he would send his Holy Spirit to indwell the hearts of all his followers, so those who believe in Jesus now have God living within them teaching them, encouraging, counseling, strengthening, empowering and guiding them in the way that they should go (Jn. 14:15-21, 26; Acts 1:8).

And, he promised that one day He would return for us, his bride, and that he would take us to be with him forever. But, that has not yet taken place because he is patient with us, for he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (See: 2 Pet. 3:9). And, so we wait for his return, and while we wait we live godly lives, pleasing to him (Tit. 2:11-14).

2 Peter 3:10-13 NIV

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

From what I understand of the teachings of scripture, as a whole, on this subject, Jesus’ return will be like a thief to those who are not watching for him, but for those of us who are ready and who are watching, it will not come as a surprise at all. Now, we don’t know exactly when he is coming back, but scripture does say that we should know when the time is near by the signs which are being fulfilled before our very eyes (See: Matt. 24).

Also, from what I understand, there will be a time of tribulation on the earth prior to his return, at which time the gospel will go forth throughout the world, and the Lord’s bride will make herself ready for her husband, and many people will come to faith in Jesus Christ (See the book of Isaiah and the book of Revelation, in particular).

Also, from what I see, much of what was prophesied in scripture with regard to these last days is already being fulfilled in our day and time, so it is possible that the seven years of tribulation are not a literal seven years, though I don’t know that with any certainty (See: Rev. 13).

During this time of tribulation, God is or will be judging the earth and the people who live on this earth, and so he will allow a beast, which I believe to be a one-world totalitarian government, and a second beast, which I believe to be a one-world all-inclusive religion, to have the power to deceive, to control and to conquer people, and even to conquer the saints of God via persecution and murder. And, these things are already taking place.

At the end of this time of tribulation, the earth and everything in it will be destroyed, but I do believe some of that takes place during the tribulation, as well (See the book of Revelation). But, all of this will take place, and then there will be a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells. Amen! Oh, how I look forward to such a place where wickedness no longer has any place at all!

2 Peter 3:14-18 NIV

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Many people teach our salvation as though it is a one-time event that takes place in our lives, then we live our lives, and then one day we die and we go to be with Jesus. But, that is only partially true, i.e. that is a half-truth cheap grace gospel which permits its followers to continue living in sin without guilt and without remorse while promising them heaven as their eternal home.

But, that is not the gospel according to Jesus or according to the prophets of old or according to the New Testament apostles. For they taught that we must die with Christ to sin and live with him to righteousness, not just one day, but every day while we wait for Jesus’ return. They taught that we must forsake our former lives of living to sin and self and that daily we must take up our cross and follow (obey) Jesus. They taught us that if we hold on to our old lives and we conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, and not according to the Spirit, that we don’t have eternal life with God.

So, we must understand, from what scripture teaches us, that our salvation is ongoing until Jesus returns, when our salvation will then be complete. So, we have to keep believing, and we have to keep following Jesus and obeying him, and we have to not go back to living for sin and self if we want to have eternal life with God. Thus, we will reap what we sow (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

But, this is not to say we will never sin again (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that sin should no longer have dominion over our lives. We should no longer be enslaved to sin. For, Jesus delivered us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can walk with him in his righteousness, in his power, and in his strength now at work within us (See: 1 Pet. 2:24).

So, please take this seriously, for your life depends on you knowing the truth and you obeying the truth. If we live in sin, we will die in our sins. If we live to righteousness, we will have eternal life with God. Plain and simple.

Tell Me the Story of Jesus

Lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, pub. 1880
Music by John R. Sweney, pub. 1880

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”

Tell how He’s gone back to heaven,
Up to the right hand of God:
How He is there interceding
While on this earth we must trod.
Tell of the sweet Holy Spirit
He has poured out from above;
Tell how He’s coming in glory
For all the saints of His love.

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

*copyright status is public domain

Friday, November 30, 2018

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